The HyperTexts
"Why Conservatives Suck"
Michael R. Burch
"recovering Fundamentalist and Reagan Republican"

Battleship New Jersey bombing the coast of Lebanon, 1983.

The picture above is of the battleship USS New Jersey shelling Lebanon with the largest guns afloat, hurling gigantic shells that have been described as "flying Volkswagens" at mostly defenseless human targets. This was a blatant act of open but undeclared war in 1983, nearly 20 years before 9-11. The gullible American public was reassured that this was a "peace-keeping" mission, but of course that was pure propaganda. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and the picture above speaks volumes. (What if we were on the receiving end?) In reality, the US had abandoned any semblance of neutrality and was instead providing massive military support of Israel's big, bloody, botched invasion of Lebanon. Israel and the US were seen as siding with, and propping up, the Christian minority that dominated the "official" Lebanese government and armed forces. This understandably did not sit well with the Muslim majority, and when the US started blowing things up, the opposition responded with car-bombings and other guerilla tactics. While Israel and the US ended up retreating without achieving any of their desired aims, their destruction of Beirut and much of Lebanon would eventually lead to 9-11, as I will explain in short order ...

While the guns are impressive, the results should give us pause ... especially because the destroyed towers of Beirut are closely related to what happened to the Twin Towers ... here is Beirut after Israel and the US did a little "peace-keeping" ...

Is this how Americans want the world to see them, as merchants of death and destruction? ...

USS New Jersey 1984 Lebanon

The New Jersey is the only American battleship to shell Vietnam and Lebanon, two much smaller nations that had never done anything to harm Americans in their hemisphere. The New Jersey's biggest, baddest guns can fire 2,700 pound shells a remarkable 23 miles. (Those are impressive statistics, unless you happen to be a woman or child on the receiving end.)

I'm reminded of Muhammad Ali saying that he refused to fight in Vietnam because no one there had ever harmed him, or called him "nigger." What did anyone in Lebanon ever do to me, to cause me to want such destruction to fall on them? This is certainly not what I want my government doing with my tax dollars ...

Middle Eastern terrorists did not "start" a new war with the US on September 11, 2001, because the US had openly declared war two decades earlier, when it shelled and killed Lebanese civilians. You can easily confirm this declaration of war by referring to Ronald Reagan's private diary, which has since been published. As Reagan gave the US Sixth Fleet orders to shell Lebanon, in a diary entry eerily dated September 11, 1983, he said: "This could be seen as putting us in the war ... I've ordered the use of naval gunfire." We have clear confirmation of those orders, because the New Jersey was alerted for immediate, high-speed deployment from Central America to the Eastern Mediterranean at precisely that time. Other warships were already in the area, but Reagan obviously wanted to bring in the really big guns.

The year before, under the military command of future prime minister Ariel Sharon, Israel and its Lebanese Christian militias had massacred 750 to 3,500 civilians in Beirut's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Israel's own Kahan Commission found Ariel Sharon personally responsible. A UN commission headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Sean McBride found Israel guilty of crimes of aggression contrary to international law. If the US was trying to promote peace back then, why was it shelling the defenders, rather than repelling the invaders, who were guilty of large-scale murders of civilian noncombatants, most of them poverty-stricken refugees whose land had been taken from them by force of arms? And if the US is really interested in peace today, why does it keep providing billions of dollars in cash and advanced weapons to a nation, Israel, whose prime ministers have included terrorists and mass murderers like Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and Ariel Sharon? (If you have any doubts, please refer to my article Israeli Prime Ministers who were Terrorists.)

It has been estimated that as many as 8,000 civilians died during Israel's invasion of Lebanon, which destroyed large areas of Beirut, including shopping centers and apartment buildings. Marine commander Colonel James M. Mead was dismayed at the level of destruction he saw in the city, describing it as being “like pictures I’ve seen of Berlin at the end of World War II.” The Beirut newspaper An Nahar reported that 5,515 people, both military and civilian, were killed in the Beirut area alone, while 2,513 civilians were killed outside Beirut. How many of those civilians were killed by US military actions? No one knows, but it goes without saying that firing hundreds of shells in the vicinity of a major city like Beirut and its suburbs is bound to result in civilian deaths, not "peace."

In any case, on September 25, 1983, the New Jersey arrived off the cost of Lebanon with her massive guns. She would eventually fire them hundreds of times in the heaviest naval bombardment since the Korean War. Before she arrived, the USS Virginia, USS Bowen, USS Arthur Radford and USS John Rogers had already hurled hundreds of shells at Lebanon. French Super Entendards and Crusaders had launched aerial bombings. British and Italian military forces were also involved in various military activities in Lebanon from 1982 to 1984. Elite commandos were employed, such as Navy Seals and French Legionnaires.

Here is a quick two-week chronology of the events that preceded the car-bombing attack that resulted in the deaths of 241 American marines:

9/11/1983: The battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) was alerted for rapid deployment to the Eastern Mediterranean.
9/12/1983: The USS New Jersey refueled in Colon, Panama, then began a high-speed run east, averaging 25 knots per hour.
9/12/1983: A Marine Amphibious Unit arrived off Lebanon and assumed a standby role.
9/16/1983: The destroyer USS John Rodgers (DD-983) and frigate USS Bowen fired five-inch shells into Syrian-controlled parts of Lebanon.
9/19/1983: The USS John Rodgers and USS Virginia (CGN-38) fired 338 five-inch shells at the Shouf Mountain village of Suq al Gharb.
9/20/1983: The USS John Rodgers and USS Virginia fired more shells.
9/21/1983: The USS John Rodgers and USS Arthur Radford (DD-968) fired more shells.
9/23/1983: The USS Virginia employed 155mm artillery fire and five-inch gunfire; French planes struck the Bekaa Valley.
9/25/1983: USS New Jersey arrived off the Lebanese coast.
9/26/1983: There was an immediate cease-fire, but the outgunned insurgents would soon resort to unconventional methods.

Reagan's note dated 9-11 in his diary about issuing orders to employ naval gunfire is confirmed by the two-week chronology above. At the time it seemed the big guns of the New Jersey might win the day, but that hope soon proved illusory.

The car-bombing attacks that killed 241 American marines and 58 French paratroopers came more than a month after the Sixth Fleet shellings began, and were obviously in retaliation for the shellings, as the Marine commander himself admitted (in quotes that follow shortly). So who started the War on Terror, with the first acts of large-scale terrorism? Ronald Reagan, on that much earlier 9-11.

Later in 1983, the aircraft carriers USS Kennedy and USS Independence launched missile and air strikes against Lebanon. The navy lost two F-14 fighters during the bombing raids. One pilot, Robert Goodman, was taken prisoner. (His release was later arranged after negotiations which included the Rev. Jesse Jackson.) US involvement in the war was covered by major American news services: for instance, TIME Magazine ("Lebanon: Peace Keeping Gets Tough," September 19, 1993, by William E. Smith, William Stewart and Roberto Suro). The TIME article states: "When he telephoned Colonel Timothy Geraghty, the U.S. Marine commander in Beirut, last week, President Reagan promised to provide 'whatever it takes' to stop the shelling of the Marine positions. The problem is that, as the factional strife in Lebanon grows ever more complicated nobody knows exactly what that promise will entail."

In retrospect, it seems Reagan's promise entailed starting a war that still rages to this day. In his autobiography Man in the Shadows, Efraim Halevy, a former director of Israel's Mossad, said that in his opinion World War III is already in progress. "Beirut was the first major attack in what has now become World War III," observed Bob Jordan, the founder of Beirut Veterans of America.

Colonel Geraghty later said that the Marine and the French headquarters were targeted because of "who we were and what we represented." He also said, "It is noteworthy that the United States provided direct naval gunfire support—which I strongly opposed—for a week to the Lebanese Army at a mountain village called Suq-al-Garb on September 19 and that the French conducted an air strike on September 23 in the Bekaa Valley. American support removed any lingering doubts of our neutrality and I stated to my staff at the time that we were going to pay in blood for this decision."

Someone else also strongly opposed American entry into the war, and its killing of civilians. Osama Bin Laden would later state that when he saw the results of the US shelling of Lebanon: "God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers. But after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed—when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the US Sixth Fleet. In those difficult moments, many emotions came over me that are hard to describe, but that produced an overwhelming desire to reject injustice and a strong determination to punish the unjust. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust the same way and to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and stop killing our children and women."

I was a Reagan Republican who watched the decline and fall of the GOP with shock, horror, revulsion and dismay. Contemplating what went wrong, and why, led me to an almost inevitable conclusion: conservatives suck. The reason is simple: the nature of conservatives is to conserve, to keep things the same. But the world at present is far from perfect, which means change in the form of positive social progress is necessary. Conservatives by nature and definition resist such change. Therefore, they suck because they oppose progress. And the current incarnation of the Republican Party has a strong fascist streak. The invasion of Iraq on false premises was no accident. This is how alpha males like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Bishop Willard Mitt Romney think, and operate. They are, in a word, fascists, and the direct descendents of Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Napoleon, Hitler and other men who dreamed of ruling the world through military might.

At various times throughout history, conservatives have used holy wars (Crusades, etc.), the torture and burning of "heretics" at the stake (Inquisitions), and other abominations to preserve "the divine right of kings," tyranny, feudalism, slavery, racism, sexism and homophobia. Even today American conservatives strive to deny non-heterosexuals their self-evident equal rights. Conservatives also seek to deny suffering people the right to euthanasia, and women the right to choose whether to risk their health, lives, futures and happiness by becoming mothers against their will. They deny the obvious evidence of global warming and thus imperil the entire planet. They pretend to know the mind and will of God, but their false "god" is a Bigot made in their own primitive image: racist, sexist, chauvinistic, homophobic and intolerant.

Missle launch off the USS Kennedy, 1983.

In the picture above the USS. Kennedy is launching a missile at Lebanon in 1983.

Beruit Embassy 1983, post terrorist attack.

The picture above is of the Beirut embassy in 1983, after a terrorist attack.

All great social change for the better has been the result of liberal reformers, not hidebound conservatives. Jesus was a radically liberal reformer who called the conservatives of his day, the Pharisees, hypocrites. He famously told the rich young ruler that if he wanted to be considered perfect, he should give all his money and worldly possessions to the poor, then do what Jesus had done himself: dedicate his life to compassion and good works. The early Christians were also liberal reformers who sold all their earthly possessions, gave the proceeds to the church, and lived together in a commune. You can easily confirm this by reading the book of Acts, the self-penned history of the early Christian church.

Thomas Jefferson was a radically liberal reformer who stunned King George with his declaration that American commoners were equal to kings in the eyes of God and intelligent men. Before the American Declaration of Independence, most people assumed that kings and lords were "more equal." After 1776 conservatives would spend much of their time, money and influence aggressively, often brutally, defending the rights of kings and lords to protect their "more equal rights"—a battle that still continues to this day.

George Washington was a liberal reformer who said, "As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community [to be] entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality."

Abraham Lincoln was a liberal reformer who emancipated American slaves at a time when the majority of white Americans were firmly convinced that they were "superior" in every way to people with darker skin.

Mohandas Gandhi was a liberal reformer who showed the world that it was possible to free an indigenous people from the clutches of a feudal colonizing power, non-violently.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a liberal reformer who created Social Security and instituted a number of other important social reforms: the "New Deal." He is generally considered to be one of the three greatest American presidents, along with Washington and Lincoln.

John F. Kennedy was a liberal reformer who said, "If by a Liberal they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a Liberal, then I'm proud to say I'm a Liberal."

Bill Clinton, the last American president to preside over a healthy economy, was also a liberal.

Nelson Mandela is a liberal reformer and an icon of peace to an admiring and thankful world.

Who are the leading lights of radical conservatism? Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bishop Willard Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and various other miscreants. The ones who are not sheer evil are witless boors and bozos.

A fascist is someone who, convinced that race, creed and/or ideology make him "superior" to other people, consequently believes that he has the "right" to impose his will on them, ignoring their self-evident rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. One might even suggest that the majority of Americans are fascists, because they believe the US has the "right" to possess nuclear weapons and use drones to kill people in the Middle East, but they do not believe that people in the Middle East have the right to possess nuclear weapons or use drones to kill people in the US. If the US uses drones to kill Muslims, that is "self defense," but if Muslims use weapons to defend themselves from the wild injustices of the US and Israel, that is "terrorism." This is how fascists "think" in a sort of jingoistic knee-jerk reflex ...

Why did the unholy trinity of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld use 9-11 as an excuse to invade Iraq, the way Hitler used similar excuses to invade Poland? Because like Hitler they are fascists intent on bullying, dominating, invading and conquering "inferior" nations, even when those nations have done nothing Americans haven't done themselves (such as developing WMDs).

Why does Sarah Palin speak calmly, if moronically, of "supporting Israel" by bombing Iran? Because she's a fascist who considers the "rights" of Israel and the US — both of which have large numbers of nuclear weapons — to be superior to those of Iranians. Never mind that the US and Israel have been much more aggressive militarily than Iran, or that Iran has legitimate reasons to want stronger defenses, considering what Israel and the US have done to Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Equality and justice mean nothing to fascists. Palin likes to shoot wolves from helicopters, and she seems to have similar disdain for Muslim women and children.

The problem for the few thinking Republicans who remain is obvious: the GOP has been overrun by fascists who now tremendously influence its policies. Therefore, even conservatives who aren't warmongers and fascists themselves are, in effect, voting for warmongering and fascism when they vote Republican. Unless the majority of Republicans come to their senses, which seems unlikely, to vote for a Republican politician is like casting a vote for a Nazi party member in Weimar Germany.

The stated goals of Tea Party types like Palin are obviously incompatible. They cannot have more wars against Islam, in an effort to "support Israel," and smaller government and lower taxes. More wars obviously means a bigger, more intrusive government, and either more taxes or bigger deficits. Practicing fascism is always incredibly expensive: just ask Hitler, Mussolini and company.

Washington and Jefferson strongly advised Americans to avoid entanglements with foreign powers, and military adventurism abroad. When the US chose to hitch its wagons to those of Israel's fascist regime, headed by world-class terrorists like Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netan-yahoo, it soon had to circle those wagons in response to 9-11. Now Americans are being strip-searched and fondled at airports, because we were stupid enough to fund and support this new holocaust  imposed by Israel on the Palestinians: the Nakba (Arabic for "catastrophe").

Americans opposed Hitler and the Holocaust. Perhaps the most shining moment in our history came at the end of World War II, when we offered the defeated Axis powers the Marshall Plan, a liberal New Deal that helped them rebuild their shattered economies and become peaceful, peace-loving democracies. But at virtually the same time, due to Jewish and Christian fascism, we offered Arab nations the Martial Plan. Their women and children were beneath our contempt. Americans closed their eyes and ears to the suffering of Palestinians, preferring to "believe the Bible" when it said God had given the land of Palestine to the ancient Hebrews, when in fact the Bible clearly says the Hebrew tribes took the land the old-fashioned, barbaric way: via ethnic cleansing and genocide, the "slaying of everything that breathes."

But fascists are not interested in historical or scientific truths. They know the "truth" and constantly trumpet it: they, the fascists, are obviously superior to everyone else, and as long as they have military superiority they will gladly use it to impose their will on their inferiors. If completely innocent women and children die as a result, that's unfortunate, if they bother to think about it, but an "acceptable" price. Fascists call the deaths and mutilations of innocents "collateral damage." If however, their own women and children suffer or die unjustly, they are the victims of "hatred" and "terrorism."

This has obviously become the mindset and modus operandi of American fascists, who euphemistically call themselves "conservatives." Ronald Reagan was one of the wiser ones, as he knew better — perhaps intuitively — than to engage in large-scale ground wars on foreign soil. Unfortunately, the current leading lights of the Republican party are far from wise. What have they learned from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq? Nothing. They will continue to "support" the Israeli Injustice Machine, which cynically uses the "faith" (blind, unreasoning faith) of American Christians to steal land and water from Palestinians at the expense of American taxpayers and their children's lives. This blind, irrational, unthinking support of Israel will almost undoubtedly lead to World War III, and perhaps to a nuclear Armageddon.

Thus, the legacy of American conservatism and fascism will in all likelihood be that of Nazi conservatism and fascism — infamy, and the destruction of a potentially great nation — unless Americans choose to open their eyes, unstop their ears, and finally understand and accept that all human beings (not just Jews and Americans) are created equal, with the same self-evident rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

King George never "got" it. Hitler and Mussolini didn't "get" it either. Nor have fascists like the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush and today, Benjamin Netanyahu and Bishop Romney.

And, to tell the truth, neither did Thomas Jefferson. He raised his children by Sally Hemmings as slaves in his own house, and only freed them via his will, after his death. And they were the only slaves he freed, as if his white blood made them somehow better than his other slaves.

George Washington also continued to own slaves during his life; they were only freed after his death.

Even Abraham Lincoln considered it impossible for whites and blacks to live together in peace, and concocted plans to send the emancipated slaves back to Africa, or to Central America.

The creators of those "great" faiths based on the Bible — Judaism and Christianity — were no better. Jehovah was a racist, sexist, homophobic, intolerant bigot. The Hebrew prophets, Jesus Christ, Paul and the other apostles never said a word against slavery. Nowhere in the Bible was slavery ever called an abomination. As much as American conservatives claim that the Bible is an oracle of divine wisdom, it obviously isn't. Biblical "justice" includes such nuggets of wisdom as murdering girls for the "crime" of having been raped (Deuteronomy 22), fathers selling their own daughters into sex slavery with the option to buy them back for not "pleasing" their new masters (Exodus 21), and "men of God" like Moses slaughtering captured women and children (Numbers 31).

Should Americans enshrine the Ten Commandments in courthouses, or deny homosexuals the right to marry, because of the "wisdom" of ancient nomadic goatherds who enslaved and stoned women and children in the "name of God"?

Is the "American way" so vastly superior to the ways of other people that we can blow completely innocent women and children to smithereens in the vain attempt to "democratize" their countries, when most Americans are far from pleased with our own system of government?

Does it make any sense whatsoever to export American-style democracy to other countries, when we have little or no confidence in our own government?

Does it make any sense whatsoever to become just another fascist nation, based on the creed that Americans are superior "just because," when we obviously aren't?

Ronald Reagan had the good sense to establish a strong military and use it to defend the rights of Americans. He didn't use our military to secure foreign oilfields or to attempt to "democratize" other nations. But he did make a strategic mistake: one with terrible consequences. In the unfathomable American quest to support Israel, he ordered the U.S. Sixth Fleet to shell Lebanon.

American fascism has extolled a great price: 9-11 and two completely unnecessary, fruitless, unwinnable was. Hitler and his Nazi goons remained convinced until the better end that Germans were "superior" and "invincible." American conservatives remain convinced, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that the United States is "superior" to other nations. Why? "Just because." It doesn't matter what Americans say or do; all that matters is that Americans are Americans, and other people aren't. Who cares how many completely innocent Muslim women and children Israeli Jews and Americans kill, since Jews and Americans are so obviously "superior"?

Of course they must never consider the possibility that, like they Nazis, their "superiority" is completely illusory. Were Hitler and Mengele "superior" to Jews, really? Are George W. Bush, Bishop Romney and Sarah Palin superior to Muslims, really?

Here in the South, where I live, we have a saying: "The proof is in the pudding."

The questions are, of course, rhetorical.

Related pages: American Fascism, The American Holocausts, Parables of Zion, Let Freedom Sing, The Nakba: The Holocaust of the Palestinians

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